Dietitians interpret the science of nutrition to improve health and treat diseases and conditions by educating and giving practical, personalised advice to clients, patients, and carers.
What is a Dietitian?
'Dietitian' is a protected title in the UK. Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that are registered by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) to assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual level.
The HCPC's role is to protect the public. It is an independent, UK-wide health regulator. The HCPC keeps a current register of health professionals who meet its standards and takes action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. Dietitians must be on the register and meet the criteria to practice.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is the professional body and Trade Union and is also responsible for designing the curriculum for the profession. Courses must be approved by the HCPC and demonstrate that graduates meet the Standards of Proficiency for Dietetics.
What type of treatments do dietitians offer?
Dietitians interpret the science of nutrition to improve health and treat diseases and conditions by educating and giving practical, personalised advice to clients, patients, and carers. They cannot offer advice where there would be personal financial benefit.
Reasons to see a dietitian
The title 'Dietitian' is protected by law?
Only those registered with the statutory regulator, the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the title.
What qualifications do Dietitians have?
The minimum requirement is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.
Dietetic courses are structured to include biochemistry, physiology, applied sciences and research methods which underpin nutrition and dietetics. These are complemented by social and behavioural sciences and the theories of communication to support the development of skills required for professional dietetic practice.
All courses require a period of supervised practice including NHS settings, where an individual must demonstrate clinical and professional competence before being eligible to apply for registration.